It’s South Africa’s most well-known road safety campaign – and it’s called Arrive Alive for a reason.
Our country’s roads are notorious over the festive season. The stats are shocking. There were 1 617 fatalities in last year’s holiday season alone. And it’s especially sad when you think that, had motorists’ road behaviour been better, the vast majority of those deaths could have been avoided.
Think about that for a moment.
Over one and a half thousand deaths ending precious lives prematurely. Over one and a half thousand deaths that, collectively, create tens of thousands of grieving parents, children, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, friends, and colleagues, all bereft in their bereavements.
Their lives are now changed forever – and there’s no turning back. And most of it could have been avoided – if we had all just paid more attention to the road.
AVBOB, South Africa’s largest provider of funeral cover and funeral services, stands firmly in support of the Arrive Alive campaign. We understand grief. We’ve been providing succour to our country’s grieving families and friends for over 102 years. We’ve seen many scourges of death over that century, but one of the most avoidable is the escalating carnage on our roads.
And yet, however often we help people confront death and deal with grief, it always pains us when it’s a death that’s premature or a death that could have been avoided.
But it’s December again, and the trek to the coast has begun. It’s also the end of one of the toughest years in this country’s and the world’s history, so you can understand why people want to get away, and take a reprieve from 2020 and all its tragedies.
It would be such a pity now, just as we’re entering a more promising year, to lose focus for an instant, and to not be as cautious on the roads as we have been with COVID-19.
So, we at AVBOB would like to plead with all South Africans to take care of themselves, their friends, their families, and their fellow road users.
Speed kills. And that’s a fact. By driving too fast, you lessen the reaction time you need to deal with challenges on the road. Drive too fast, and that reaction time becomes zero, and an accident is inevitable. You’ll also suffer far greater an impact the faster you drive. The Speed Kills maxim is even more accurate on wet, unsurfaced, gravel, or dusty roads. The only solution? Slow down, and avoid tailgating!
It goes without saying that weather conditions matter. Deluges of summer rains, thick coastal fog and other weather risks can seriously affect safe driving. One of the most dangerous examples is flooding. Water on a low-lying bridge can sweep a vehicle away while unseen debris can cause havoc, even making you lose control of your vehicle. Please use navigation systems like Google Maps which also give you traffic warnings, and show congestion, accidents, and more.
You’d have to be living in a different country not to know that the state of our roads is, in places, in terrible repair. Poor road maintenance and bad weather have left many of our roads with notoriously bad potholes. This requires much more careful driving. You also need to maintain your vehicle properly, including making sure your tyres are properly inflated, and your shock absorbers, struts and springs are in good condition.
International research concludes that 90% of road crashes are caused by human error. Make sure that your driving skills are good enough, for you, your family, and for others. Skills like gradual braking, finding the changing spot of the clutch, and mastering the steering wheel make a huge difference in driving safely, as well as knowing how to react if your car skids.
If it’s been too many years, or even decades, since your driving exam, give yourself a refresher. Find out which driving schools offer it. It can just take an hour in your afternoon, but it can save years of yours and someone else’s life. Brush up on the theory too. Make sure you remember all the rules of the road and understand the traffic signs.
A well-maintained car is a safe car. So, make sure your vehicle’s in good shape. Check the oil, cooling-system levels, tyres, and lights, especially brake lights. Any workshop can help you with this.
And the most dangerous element of all – alcohol. Do not drive when you’re over the limit. In fact, go even further, and do not drive if you’ve been drinking at all. It leads to slower reaction times and poor judgment. The consequences can be devastating. You can kill yourself, you can kill your family, you can kill your fellow road users, and in the event that you do survive, you can go to jail.
Life is for the living though – so best of the season to you, from us at AVBOB. Just be safe!
It’s the end of 2020, and we’ll all be a little happy to wave it goodbye. So, go enjoy your holiday. You’ve earned it. But, please, from all of us at AVBOB, be safe and arrive alive!